An art dealership accused of offering to launder money through the sale of a Picasso painting has gone bust.
It is the latest casualty of an FBI sting that led to the collapse of London stockbroker Beaufort Securities at the beginning of this month.
Lenders to Mayfair Fine Art, owned by Matthew Green, called in administrators after the company failed to meet debt repayments.
An alleged deal to launder money through the sale of the £6.7million Picasso work – entitled Personnages, Painted 11 April 1965 – fell apart earlier this month when one of those involved turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
Green’s firm defaulted on a business loan it took out with Mayfair investment bank MBU Capital last October. It is unclear whether the lender, who called in administrators on March 12, will be able to recover any capital.
Joint administrators Ian Robert and Ryan Davies, of Kingston Smith & Partners, said in a statement: ‘There is no known physical art gallery and investigations have begun into the location of any assets.’
Green, 50, was allegedly introduced to the undercover FBI agent in London last month by Beaufort’s manager Peter Kyriacou and his uncle Aristos Aristodemou.
According to court papers, Aristodemou told the FBI agent he could buy a Picasso painting through Green and could later sell it to ‘clean the money’.
Green, who resigned as a director of Mayfair Fine Art in February, faces criminal charges in the US along with Kyriacou, Aristodemou and three others.
The £36million securities and money laundering operation allegedly run by Beaufort was said to stretch from Belize to Budapest.
There is no suggestion MBU Capital is involved in any wrongdoing.
Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-5540231/Art-dealer-accused-offering-launder-money-sale-Picasso-defaults-loan.html#ixzz5Amg73qRy
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